/ Avon Gorge - Nightmare Fir Tree
Yeaterday I was climbing at sea walls on Morpheus and a climber shouted up to us from the car park saying that the large fir tree on Nightmare appears to have shifted into a more horizontal position. It was getting dark so when we got to the bottom we had a look at compared it to the photo in the guide book but couldn’t come to any decision. The guy mentioned that someone from the BMC might be going to take a look at it, but this is all the info I currently have. If anyone else can add anything it would be appreciated. It’s a huge tree and if it’s falling down then it’s a massive hazard in that area.
This is true. I was contacted about this yesterday. A BMC volunteer is going to take a look at this today and remove the steel strop from the tree. The root ball is exposed and the tree has moved considerably from the vertical and is now overhanging the gorge. When I have more info I'll post here and on the RAD. I would suggest that for the time being, this area of Sea Walls is avoided.
James Mann (BMC SW Area Chair)
I just fired a mail to the AMC list to let people know to take care. The forecast makes it unlikely that anyone will try climbing there for a few days though.
I live fairly close so I might pop over and take a look later.
Is it worth contacting the tree team/ecologist at Bristol City Council? Failing that the Avon Gorge and Downs Wildlife Project who manage the conservation of the SSSI? They could organise an arborist to assess it. It may be a case of removal to prevent an accident.
My feeling is that even without the strop or with a sign, someone will use it in its poor condition anyway...
This is in hand.
Ended up not abbing down, as the vounteers James mentioned were having a poke around when I arrived. It turns out I know them so I invited them in for a cup of tea and dug out some old (2016) pics for comparison purposes. They were planning to go back and reproduce the exact shot so they can directly compare the angles.
Incidentally The first pitch of Nightmare was the one dry line at the sea walls.
Wow that would make for some steep tree climbing.... Is it equipped with lower off rings?
Poor tree, I suppose it's had an interesting good old life. At least no neighbours could send the tree vandals in early with complaints that it was blocking their view.
I'm fairly sure it used to be pretty much vertical!
It has a cable and maillon IIRC. Barry was going to take them off but couldn't get it undone.
Not sure what the plan B is if the tree goes away - never even looked for alternative belays on any of the occasions I have climbed it.
There's not a huge amount there! I've taken a look... mind you I'm betting there's a great big crack under the tree...
Size 8 tricam you think?
I have uploaded a photo of this in my gallery. It has not been possible to remove the maillon as it was glued shut in the first place. This belay/abseil station should NOT BE USED! The area around and below the tree should be treated with great caution and it may be more sensible to climb elsewhere in the gorge until this issue is resolved. The BMC are aware and are working on informing the landowner and resolving this.
The slab to the left of the tree is laced with perfect cracks where Last Slip, Padansac pop up, a bit of a detour perhaps but far more comfortable a belay spot than that dusty, rooty spot.
Isn’t there a patch of gear at the beginning of the second patch of Sleepwalk too on that yellow face. It’s been a while since I climbed it for a while with gear so not 100% sure.
End of the day it’s a few moves on the last pitch up to the next load of trees if people do want to abseil off or you can walk up left and do the last pitch of Sleepwalk as a nice alternative.
Drove past today - wow, that’s a major shift! Shame to see it go.
Why hasn't the person who took a factor 2 fall on the tree owned up yet? ;) Hope they r OK....
Did the tree get looked at?
Been a number of serious accidents in the last couple of years at Avon. Maybe be cautious with jokes around safety issues?
Fair point ....
I have updated the route description on the UKC log book to advise people the tree is unstable and should not be used for abseiling. If there are any changes after the BMC inspection let me know and I can update.
Thanks very much.
Any news on this yet?
Bump. Interested in this.
Tree gate - the tree is no longer on the cliff - it’s now on the ground because someone has sawn it off.
Someone official or someone just went and did it?
I hope it's the first one or all hell could break loose.
> I hope it's the first one or all hell could break loose.
Why? It was dangerous to both climbers and anyone below.
It wasn't very long ago that we nearly lost access to Rivelin Edge because a climber decided to chop a couple of trees down without asking.
In this case the crag is council owned. So far they have been very good about access but taking a vigilante approach to this sort of thing is a great way to persuade them to change their minds.
This is awful...
But can anything be salvaged? Can we turn tree into a bench at the bottom of sea walls to commemorate the tree?
The other trees might take it personally, and you have to get past them to get back down.
Fair enough - I withdraw my comment. Thanks for the link.
I guess one helpful thing would be to respond rapidly with the timescale for inspection etc. The issue was flagged three weeks ago and the photos suggest that it would be surprising if it was other than unsafe. An outline timescale might prevent people from being "helpful".
We were climbing there on Thursday(26th Apr) and some guys were rappelling from this tree, so I assume it was safe enough for them.
Or they were lucky!
Controversially maybe this is not a bad thing? It seems like everyone agreed the tree had moved substantially. While people are busy sending emails between BMC and council and various other people. Nothing was actually being done. The tree was still there and people (who might be new to the area and not realised it had moved) were still abbing off it. Potentially it was a widow making waiting to fall on someone.
Its far from an ideal solution but perhaps better than people sending memos to each other till someone dies
Can i suggest Midnight Arborist as a new route name? ;)
Your statement is entirely incorrect. There was ongoing action and the extensive root system of the tree remained perfectly sound. In any case it is up to each climber to assess the risks in the situation and make judgements about the best course of action.
Potentially, Kemics' point might cut the other way: It may have been the absence of any public information or the lack communication with the climbing community from BCC/BMC on what steps were actually being taken and what was the outcome of the assessment of the tree's safety which led the Midnight Arborist to take this into their own hands.
I think the only communication (online, nothing at Sea Wall itself, I don't think?) was limited to "we're on it, just hang on". Arguably, some signage, updates and better communication as to what the 'ongoing action' was/is may have precluded it....?
Or.... perhaps more plausibly, this was just a council arborist following orders with no mention of it trickling down to the BMC?
Sorry to raise this topic. Does anyone know what is happening to the tree? It seems it is still on the ground at Sea Walls. Would the council be removing it?
First come first serve.
It would be nice if the people who created the mess would tidy it up but somehow I doubt that will happen
Looks like the tree is on the agenda for the SW Area meet next week, maybe it will be discussed there.
I do think it would be a shame to let it rot or go to completely waste.
Isn't a tree rotting a good thing?
That's true I suppose, good for wildlife.
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